June 7, 2009
To the loyal Korny blog follwers -- it has been far too long between blogs!! In no particular order, here is your lengthy welcome back to Korny-land!!
KERNEL NUMBER 1 -- SHOUT OUT TO ROCK STAR ATHLETES
Tiger. Greatest indivudal athlete currently playing in the world. Period. Kobe. An assasin. Is in the Jordan zone. I wish LeBron would have been here. Federer. Awesome. But for the psycho who attacked him. I missed much of tv this weekend.
KENREL NUMBER 2 -- MOMS 70TH BIRTHDAY SURPRISE PARTY -- AN AWESOME KORNFELD FAMILY MOMENT
As I have posted, my mom is a genuinely good person. Decent. Honest. Sincere. Selfless. Humble. Simple. So having 60 people from California, Florida, NJ, Pennsylvania, and all of her family, grandkids, friends there was just awesome. She had a tumultuous year, a bout with cancer (so far remission for almost a year ans she is well), and is the most deserving person of something like this in the world. She is tough to surprise, my father is a lunatic when it comes to planning, and was calling me and Dawn and my assistant Lillian 3x a day easy for 3 months! Anyway, the day goes off without a hitch, mom is surrounded by love, great toasts and speeches all around, great, voluminous food and for 4 hours, she was the center of the unvierse. As it should be far more often. Good vibes, good karma, good emotion. Lot of love.
KERNEL NUMBER 3 -- WORLD SERIES OF POKER
Vegas, here I come!! All know of this development. I was fortunate enough to win a private winner-take-all tourney and represent that group of players at the Main Event. Dawn took a picture of the Registration form and my certified check which was mailed to the Rio Firday before my Vassar reunion. Dawn is scrapping the whole thing for me!! I am pumped.
I got super lucky that night, made some really good reads when I needed to and won most coin flip hands to prevail. This was one of my top "Bucket list" items so I intend to maximize it in all respects!! Cant wait! Under 30 days!! Will advise the FB world when I know when I am playing for sure.
All sounds-ins, advice, commentary, criticisms, superstitions wlecome. Amyone who wants to meet me ion Vegas to hang out let me know!!! Dawn is going to be away travelling so we will be in email/Ipod chatter!
More on this in future I promise!! I relish the idea of a Phil Hlemuth or Jesus Fegruson story! But regardless I intend to really soak in this possibly once in a lifetime Korny experience. All can come along for the ride.
KERNEL NUMBER 4 == VASSAR -- 20 YEARS -- WOW -- REALLY? -- HOLY S... -- AM I THIS OLD? WHERE DID THE TIME GO?
So I drive up to Vassar for my 20th reunion. Yes its been 20 years. Yes I am this old. The time went into among other things: Brooklyn law school, engagement, Hawaii, law school graduation, St Marteen, judicial clerkship, marriage, Greece, Rogers & Wells, Forest Hills, spending money, Montreal, anniversaries, big birthdays, "The Master Plan," the change to "the Master Plan," trying for a baby, closing on a house, learning we were having Brett, having Brett, getting used to the CT commute, Valentines day second child conception success, having Dylan, switching to in-house, doulas, nannys, taking serious risk in the Internet world, misisng millions by 30 days, failing, being worse than broke, moving to fairfield, returning to private practice, two little boys, soccer, basketball, tae kwon doe, gymboree, little tikes gymnatstics, mucsic classes, play dates, 9-11, Ohio, Disney, travels, Paris, texas hold em, Vegas jaunts, super bowl parties, seeing friends succeed, Gore-Bush, Obama, Alaskan cruises, helicopter rides, dog sledding, surprise parties, ballooning weight, Weight Watchers, time shares, New Orleans, Carribean cruises, bar mitzvah planning and execution, travel sports, suburbia, increasing weight, making money, recession, tivo, the Internet, iphones, blackebrries, re-discovering old friends, Facebook, the Vassar Quarterly for the updates. And thousands of other things about which can be their own blog in days/weeks to come!
The world at large in a macro sense and the world in a self-centred Korny sense had undergone incredible things in 20 years.
The wave of emotions were simple for me though. I was psyched!! I had not been a participant in any prior reunion so I was really looking forward to it. Of course Friday its rainy.
Day starts off with a typical Korny moment which is in the lead-off position in the Vassar reunion piece of the blog:
CAR WASH. OR MAYBE NOT.
The car wash man. I pull up at 8 o'clock thinking it might be nice to drive up to school in a spanking clean car. They are open. Nice guy says "I need 10 minutes." Even though the sign says "Open." Why exactly do people open their stores when they actually aren't ready to take money from customers? But put that rhetorcial question to the side. I am in good spirits no matter what so I say "sure" and Bruce pops on Satellite Radio E-Street Channel 10 belting out Jungleland. Another guy is there in full car wash attire with a baseball cap in a chair napping. I was wondering the message they are sending -- guy just got to work and he is already taking a nap break. But I digress. Anyway, the original guy, the crew leader, returns a few minutes later (less than the professed 10), I pull the car onto the tracks at his direction (badly -- I like whe nthey do it for you; if I wanted to be some sort of race car drvier . . . . ) and he greets me with a warm smile and inviting query: "What can I get for you today?" Having had nearly 10 minutes to ponder this, I actually was ready with my answer. I said" I would like the "Special Detail" you are advertising right when I pulled in on the big board." It was like 9 different things, wax, interior vacuum, special coatings, the works for 26 bucks. Seemed like great value. Not toady though. He replies "Sorry, we don't have that today." I said, "really, you are adertising it right there?" He says "yeah, but I am the only guy here, so we can't do that." I am perplexed by this statement because the guy with the cap and the nap is still there (so its two people there!). I say politely "what about that gentleman?" He says "he's not on yet?" I am thinking since when does the car wash have shifts and union dues. Did I miss a memo? Anyway, I say, "ok, what can I get?" The guy says now with a hint of attitude, "well I can wash the car." I immediately jump to sarcasm mode in my head thinking, well, yeah, this is a fg car wash, right? But I am my happy place, so I go charming Korny and gently say "will you do the interior too?" He says "No I can't do it all myself. And because of the possible rain in the forecast I don't know who is coming in to work today." I am literally listening to this thinking this could truly be the single dumbest customer service conversation in the history of recorded dialogue. I say defeatedly, and irritated, "ok, thanks. " And drive away. No car wash. Basically, I concluded the guy was annoyed I actually showed up to make him work, and pay them money. And thought his first question should not have been "what can I do for you today" but instead should have been "here's what I can't do for you today!" And I told my lovely wife Dawn who had directed me to this prize establishment that they are officially banned!
Anyway, after errands (dry cleaning, cleaning the crap out of the car myself, newspaper purchase, loading up the back, picking up my oldest who had gotten sick as I was about to leave for Vassar), I am on my way with mapquest directions and GPS wife-programmed. And I am pumped.
I get the best feeling as I apporach school. Warm memories. Places I have been to eat/drink. The Unos off 84, the Acropolis diner, Charlie Browns near the highway, Vassar Road, Mulligans the divest of Irish pubs about 4 miles from campus literally near nothing in middle of nowhere with the same sign from 1985. The ride is endless on Route 7 but smooth on 84. It is a torrential rain in spots and a light rain in others. But nothing is going to dampen the weekend due to having just won a seat at the World Series of Poker (CAUTONARTY NOTE -- all be forewarned -- every writing from now till I am eliminated will have shout ins about this monumental moment -- please deal and indulgence in advance much appreciated).
I come in the back side, to avoid the Main gate. And I pull up in to the circle. Now I plan to save lots of stuff for the Vassar Quarterly but a few tidbits will be blogged and some may make way into quarterly, thus for those who read both, apologies in advance. I am in great spirits. While Vassar did not satisfy the Div 1 sports bug I needed I loved school. I loved the campus, gorgeous, I loved the cliques of people, I loved the politics, the crazy radicals of all kinds, the openness of people's sexual preference, the smallness of it, the stories, the intellectuals, all of it. I made lifelong friends there, and knew many people from different walks of life. So pulling back on campus was a great feeling.
THINGS NEVER CHANGE -- PARKING
Ah, but some things never change. Parking -- limited is understatement but the nicely attired reunion helpers and security folk are all helpful I get to campus ahead of my designated partner-in-crime Ms Boyle, with whom I swapped half a dozen cell calls while in transit. She had some cell phone and other technical dramas and got behind schedule. I go to the Retreat, the campus eatery, and decide to get a sandwich.
LEAVE WELL ENOUGH ALONE -- CHICKEN!!
Much to my chagrin, the "classic" the chicken on a bun, does not exist anymore. Only the healthy grilled kind. LET ME BE CLEAR -- I APPRECIATE THE HEALTHY PEOPLE AND THE NEED FOR HEALTHY OPTIONS . I GET IT. BUT LORD -- CANT THE GOOD SIMPLE THINGS IN LIFE BE LEFT ALONE? LIKE THE VASSAR CHICKEN ON A BUN? THE WENDY'S KIND, DEEP FRIED, WITH A SLAB OF CHEDDAR AND MAYBE SOME BACON? I MEAN, SERIOUSLY. (But do see the Kornfeld public pledge on future health -- so even if I wont be eating it for next 5 years I want a real Chicken on a bun for 25 th reunion).
I move on. I am hanging reading the papers taking it all in and call Dawn. I tell her at the Retreat and she says "what food places are in the retreat? " I said, not that is THE food place. She says "One food place?" I said "yes. honey small campus. Not Alabama." She laughs. As would I had I been her. I spared Dawn the nostalgia ofg the weekend as I think if I had to say to hundreds of people "this is my wife Dawn" she might have gotten bored. Plus, she had kid duty for Brett's hoops; I had similar duty last week when she was doing 5 days of scrap book camp in Nashville. Teamwork. Key to our marriage.
I am also reading the weekend program. Great job by the planning and reunion committee. And I am always thankful for the hard work and sweat equity of others. I laugh to myself thinking again that at Alabama reunion would involve kegs and slammers and sports and barbeques. But I think it very cool as there is something for everybody, including lots of lectures and just a whole lot of diverse, nice options available for everyone.
Noelle arrives and I am super psyched. My wing woman for the weekend.
We lived on Napolis pizza. Noelle and I had planned for 4 months to order some for lunch. But sadly, a father-son dispute kills the classic moment. Napolis is no more. Of course someone had posted on FB about this in recent months with the actual phone number and I missed it. But still, a sad moment. Hge bummer actually. It is sad when things that should live forver die.
Meanwhile, Brett is giving Dawn a hard time back in CT. Having been sick, he is now better and bored and desiring videos. Dawn insisting on more rest. I have been gone under 3 hours. But, Dawn prevails, Brett naps and all is well.
Noelle and I venture for a walk to CollegeView. Great pizza there. But HUGE HUGE SLICES. We split 4 when two would have done!! We top it off at Babycakes for desserts from heaven. All the while discussing my personal need to re-commit to healthy living, better choices, exercise, yoga (Noelle's passion) and possibly a detoxifying cleanse (which this body needs more than most on the planet!). Yes, this is ironic. Noelle has though definitely inspired me to re-evaluate my relationship with food. Starting Monday.
The good news is, that I am now after spending the weekend with old classmates, and some of the most beautiful people one could imagine, reaffirming publicly my committment to return to college weight. This public declaration should be held up by everyone anytime they see me straying from the righteous path. I am serious! I plan to be in real shape for 25th reunion!! I need the Korny universe of friends, family, FBers etc to help! Operation healthy lifestyle begins without exception tomorrow. All goals will be met within a year and maintained for the next 5 years so when I come to 25 I will be a beacon of good health! Make book. And thank you in advance to all those who have inspired this return to sanity and discipline!! The Dick Coes, Noelle Boyles, Claduia Sickingers, Jordan Turners, Heather Fowlers, Scott Buckinghmans, Jeff Poppers, Leslie Bishop Francos and so many more of the Vassar 20th reunion world! I am motivated.
Wouldn't be me if we didn't srop a boatload of acash in the Vassar store. Hoodies for me, Dawn and the boys, Sweats. A blanket. A baseball hat. T shirt. And thinkig they might not provide me a towel for the weekend a towel it turns out I did not need. All good.
Stayed in my old dorm. Cushing. Exactly the same. I mean the good of it, the bad of it, the ugly of it. Rooms are too small for one human let alone two. Pool room scary. I missed Kenny Hutman my quiet roomate from MCClean VA and awesome human. He was the topic of inquiry and remains something of a covert operative. I will get the skinny and report what is permissible! The Cushing lobby the site of many an ugly story (me killing the Hutman-Kornfeld goldfish) inadvertently (too much food) after freshman wine tasting, screaming fights with exes in the hallway in front of suite mates and their parents, to name but a few. Good to be college home. (As an aside there will eventually be Billy Weinberg update; thanks for reminding me Becky).
Walked by the same couch I sat on when the Challenger tragedy/explosion happened and when a man named Dan said watching a raw unknown kid say that MIke Tyson would be the heavyweight chap in less than two years (it took him one). The things one remembers.
STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS
The parade of classes awesome. People from the class of 1934. Best was the guy from the first ever gradutaing class which included males, legenday class of 1974 with his "Let's Hustle" t-shirt.
Awesome to see and catch up with so many. Too many to name in the blog. There is something about seeing familiar faces, old classmates, that is just cool. Best word for it. So many successful people, great family stories. Really nice.
The Vassar Devil. Appropriately named. For the non-Vassar readers, chocolate cake, thik, chewy, with Marshmallow, hot fudge sauces drowned on top with whip cream and side of ice cream.
Gorgeous Saturday, memorials to departed classmates, Sunset Hill, the THs, the new fields, the new sports pavillions, seeing intramural Roman, the Mug, sleeping in Cushing, seeing Steve the security guy. The little things.
Acropolis for breakfast. The best. Massive portions. 7 bucks.
80'S MUSIC. Enough said.
Idealistic Vassar kids (the ones who drove people around) talking about protesting budget cuts, asking the President to take a pay cut instead of firing other staff, protesting same-sex marriage opponents. Same old Vassar.
All of us "old" Alumni whining that the kids who came after us had it sooooooo much better! Kind of like the alumni before us said before us. But in our case, it was true!
Drinking beers in the dorm, woo-hoos (thanks James) and seeing/observing the social break-down among groups. People naturally gravitate to the clques from years past. Excellent sociology.
In short, since Wed, settled a case for a nice client, won a seat at the WSOP (did I mention that yet -- and I dont care if it gets annoying!), went back to Vassar, rec-committed to healthy living and celebrated my mons 70th in style (shout out to my beloved who is AWESOME -- helped make my moms party special -- did the flower arrangement, the table settings, the centerpieces, trhe cake decorations, the gorgeous sign in photo book, among so many other things). Life is AWESOME!!
KERNEL FIVE -- AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO
Thinks it cool Anglea Landsbury won a Tony at 183?
Thinks Tiger is actually Michael Jordan with a club?
Roots aginst Kobe just because?
Hopes Papi Ortiz is not done even though it is sacreligious as a Yankee fan to say such things?
Thinks that losing weight at 41 is harder than gaining weight at 31?
Thinks teen sons look good in golf shirts?
Thinks that every cocktail hour at a party should include scallops wrapped in well done bacon?
Thinks that it was funny that his reunion name tag had the name "Korny" on it?
Thinks that it is ok to be excited that their kids are off to sleepaway camp in 20 days?
That's it for now. Again shout outs to all the Vasarites who made this a supremely special weekend for me.
Welcome comments gang.
Love -- Korny